February 21. 2024. 6:41

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Leftist minister urges Spanish government to ‘freeze mortgage payments’

The Spanish Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, defended the urgent need to freeze mortgage payments to avoid “greater risks”, and ensure “a dignified life” for millions of citizens who can’t afford their repayments.

In a rally held in Valladolid (Castilla y León, northwest), Díaz (Unidas Podemos/EU Left), urged her socialist partners in the progressive executive (PSOE/S&D) to push forward a temporary “freeze” of mortgages in specific cases of very vulnerable people, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Since the end of 2021, the Euribor rate has been increasing at a very fast pace, putting at risk millions of vulnerable Spanish families who cannot keep up.

The Euribor rate is based on the average interest rates at which European banks borrow money from one another, and mortgages are linked to it.

Díaz insisted on Saturday on “freezing mortgage payments before the excessive rise of the Euribor in this country”.

The 12-month Euribor rate in Spain reached an average rate of 3.337% in January 2023, an increase of 3.8 percentage points compared with January 2022. This percentage is close to the average of December 2008 (3.452%).

This puts a heavy burden on millions of families at a time when Spanish banks have announced record profits thanks to the recent interest rate hikes approved by the ECB to combat inflation.

According to Sumar, a new political left-wing formation set-up by Díaz in view of the upcoming elections (in May and December), one of the greatest difficulties faced by vulnerable families is the fast rise in interest rates, costing an average of €260 extra per month.

Spanish socialists looking beyond 2023

Meanwhile, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE/S&D), stressed in a socialist rally held Saturday in Madrid that his party’s project “does not end in 2023” but “looks to 2030”.

“Our political project does not end in 2023; our political project looks to 2030 because in 2030 we want our country to be a more competitive, more educated, more cohesive country, a country that is at the forefront of Europe and a benchmark for many policies in Europe and the world”, he stated.

Municipal elections will be held in May in Spain – a vote many view as the first litmus test for Pedro Sanchez’s governing coalition with Unidas Podemos.

General elections will be held in December when Spain is in the final month of its EU Council presidency, which starts on 1 July for a period of six months.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.es)